Civil Society and the Public Sphere: History of the Concept

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The concept of the public sphere refers to the capacity of the members of civil society to coordinate their common affairs through collective discourse which transcends the private interests of each. The concept is associated especially with the theories of Hannah Arendt and Jurgen Habermas. Current work focuses especially on the relationship between rational-critical communication and other dimensions of culture-formation and expressive communication; on issues of diversity in participation, topics, and communicative styles; and on the relationship of the public sphere to state-centered politics and/or the transcendence of the state in an international public sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture-formation
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Jurgen Habermas
  • Public sphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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